Interim acting co-leader of the Lib Dems, Sir Ed Davey MP, has today signed a cross-party letter to the Chancellor calling for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to be implemented post-lockdown.
The letter, signed by over 100 MPs of different parties and today published in the Financial Times, will put pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to implement the basic income scheme, which would see regular, unconditional payouts made to every adult in the UK – a move seen by many in the liberal movement as an essential step towards ending poverty.
Sir Ed’s signature on the letter makes the Liberal Democrats the largest national party to have their leader sign. Our sources suggest it is representative of a broader movement within the party to hone in more closely on economic inequality and poverty, and adopt radical liberal measures to ensure a more equitable economy. The move comes after the Lib Dems approved pilots of a guaranteed minimum income scheme at their 2019 Autumn Conference, alongside a commitment to universal basic services.
“At the past two general elections, the Lib Dems have been independently assessed to have the most progressive manifesto of all the major national parties,” our analyst writes. “Coming out in favour of UBI is a significant further step in that direction – it shows the Lib Dems mean business on poverty.”
22nd April 2020, 8:09pm: This article has been updated to include further context to the Liberal Democrats’ support – as approved at their conference – for guaranteed minimum income pilots.